Image © Francisco Ruiz de Infante

Reina (Queen), 2007
Ruiz de Infante, Francisco
Video installation Courtesy: Galería FRAC Champagne-Ardenne Thanks to: Galería Elba Benítez, Madrid

Visitors see before them an almost completely closed room. Entrance is forbidden given that its only access is a small 20cm opening. Located in this present but inaccessible space is The Control Room. Along with a complex web of electric wire, the room contains a plug board providing energy externally to ensure its proper functioning. Simultaneously, this system is observed by a surveillance camera and its screen to ensure that the switch is always in the on position. Two prints of neural networks drawn by Ramón y Cajal are the only thing visible on the walls.

Some time ago, Deleuze coined the term societies of control to announce a technological future that would increasingly invade private spheres. To the extent that the social logic and its serveillance systems have migrated from mechanistic parameters (closed, geometrical, analog) to digital forms (open, in networks, delocalized), new forms of control have emerged that are more intensive, extensive and subtle. Invisible. Upgraded versions of Bentham’s Panopticon, which gains strength from the fact that they are located all over the place, throughout the network society. For in effect, the control room is the network to its full extent. Thus, Watch and punish is no longer necessary given that the Web- the possiblity of being monitored on line- is enough to generate the internalization of the norms of social equilibrium (socio-digital homeostasis).

Reina not only addresses the new parameter of control that is delocalized, fluid, flexible, possible, digital, in a network, and on the Web; it also points to an even more disturbing consequence: the symbiosis of the biological and the technological in a techno-biological political network, sharing a sole dataflow between them. Based on the possibility that exocerebral networks (language, symbolic systems, the world wide web) constitute an essential part of human consciousness— the amplifying hardware and software it needs—, a crucial new problem would arise. This deeply human but primarily social and political problem is that consciousness and power would reside in the same space (the no-place of the Web). This cohabitation between monitored subject and control technology in the same digital space could turn into something more than just a superstructure: the annihilation of resistance in logical terms. At the same time, and not without a certain subversive irony, Reina puts the finishing touch on the subject by enclosing, encapsulating, power in its panoptical room. Just as control technologies have been internalized given the virtual nature of constant control, the controller carrying out the surveillance cannot leave the control room. However, the room is empty.

SEACEXLABoralFundación TelefónicaZKMInstitut Ramon LlullMediaLabMadridINBAsociación BanqueteUnesco
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